Heathfield murder mum appeals against sentence

JAILED HEATHFIELD murder mum Fiona Donnison is appealing against the 32 year sentence she received for killing her two toddlers in January 2010. The hearing will be held at the High Court. London on May 22.

Donnison, 43 from Lightwater, Surrey (but formerly from Mill Road, Heathfield) had pleaded not guilty to murder. But a jury at last year’s two-week Lewes Crown Court trial brought in a unanimous guilty verdict. Judge Mr Justice Nicol sentenced her to life imprisonment, describing the murders as “deliberate and wicked acts”. He said: “The premature end of such young lives would have been a tragedy but this was no accident. You killed them, you who were their mother. Why you did this defies logical explanation.”

The court heard how Donnison smothered Harry, three, and Elise, two, in their beds in Surrey, contorted their bodies into holdalls and stuffed them into the boot of her Nissan Note car. She then drove back to Heathfield, stopping at two supermarkets on the way, then parked the car in Mill Close round the corner from her former home. Donnison is then thought to have awaited the arrival of her partner, Paul Donnison, with two knives to injure him. Mr Donnison did not return home that night.

The next day she came out of her house, bought goods from two shops in Heathfield, took money from an ATM in the High Street and then handed herself in at Heathfield Police Station saying she’d murdered her children.

When the sentence was given, it emerged prosecutors had been intending to have Donnison tried on a third murder charge.

This would have been for Mia, the first child she had with Paul. Mia died at the age of nine months in April 2004, originally thought to be the result of sudden infant death syndrome. But a judge decided against this charge being brought on as part of the trial, citing the absence of direct evidence about Mia’s death.

After the verdict had been delivered, Mr Justice Nicol agreed information about the potential, but rejected, charge could be released to the press.